Day 24: Hundreds of hacking calls were made from a “private wire” inside News International’s headquarters, the Old Bailey heard today.
Among those whose voicemails were accessed from the “generic” phone link at Wapping in east London were Katie Price, Tessa Jowell, celebrity PR advisor Alan Edwards and three Mail on Sunday journalists – Sebastian Hamilton, Dennis Rice and Laura Collins, the hacking trial was told.
Princes William and Harry’s private secretary, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, alone was called 416 times during a nine-month period, the court heard.
The prosecution outlined the evidence from phone records during the fifth week of the trial of former executives at Rupert Murdoch’s now-closed News of the World for phone hacking.
Prosecuting, Mark Bryant-Heron told the jury that as well as voicemails being illegally accessed by the paper’s private detective, Glenn Mulcaire, “hacking calls” were also made from inside News International.
Landlines at the newspaper group’s offices which hacked mobile phones and voicemail were routed through a generic Vodafone number – 07836 951312 – which the police, he said, had described as a “private wire.”
He explained to the jury that any landline number at News International could have been routed through the “link”.
By examining phone records and other data, detectives had stripped out the “hacking calls” made to the mobile phones and direct dial voicemail numbers of newsworthy individuals.
The calls started on 26 October 2005 and ended on 5 August 2006, days before the arrest of Mulcaire, Mr Bryant-Heron said.
He added that they often tallied with notes made by Mulcaire about newsworthy individuals which bore the tasking name ‘Ian’.
The judge, Mr Justice John Saunders, told the jury that it was not agreed – and they must decide – whether the ‘Ian’ in question was the News of the World’s then news editor, Ian Edmondson.
Mr Edmondson and three others deny charges of conspiring to intercept mobile communications. All eight defendants in the case – which is expected to last up to six month – have pleaded not guilty. The trial will resume on Wednesday next week.
The #pressreform blog has full coverage of the tweets and articles from the trial.